The WWF Cookbook is a treasure trove of crazy recipes from the Attitude Era, each of which is purportedly the creation of one of the wrestlers. In Wrestling With Food, Sydney is on a mission to try cooking all of them to see if any are actually edible.
You know, I realized that since starting this project, I’ve been switching between sweet and savory. Since we did the super sweet cookies of dear old departed Vis last week, some sort of entrée was due. I handed Tom the cookbook, and let him decide. After flipping through, he decided on The Hardy Boyz’ Chicken-Fried Steak.
I’m a firm believer that you can never have too much angioplasty, so I was game. Here are the notes from JR at the top, which are pretty great and not at all sexist:
“North Carolina natives Matt and Jeff Hardy lost their mom when they were boys, so these two highflyers learned to cook and sew as youngsters. This dish is in the meat eaters’ Hall of Fame, and ladies, it is indeed the way to a good old boy’s heart. Fellas, if your lady can make a main-event chicken-fried steak, you’re in luck. And if she can make cream gravy to drown it in, you might want to consider a long-term relationship!”
There you have it, folks. Women, get to learning to make this. Men, appreciate that they are doing it, but ONLY put a ring on it if she makes the gravy. Anyway, here we go!
For the steak:
¾ cup of flour.
¼ teaspoon paprika.
¼ teaspoon salt.
1 teaspoon seasoned salt, or to taste.
1 ½ (4 ½ inch) thick rib-eye steaks.
1 large egg, beaten.
¼ cup cooking oil.
For the gravy:
3 tablespoons drippings.
1 ¼ cup milk.
3 tablespoons flour.
1 teaspoon salt.
Dash of pepper, or to taste.
First off, I halved the recipe. I am more than happy to take this journey, but I feel you probably only need one chicken-fried steak a week. (Also, the package came with the right amount, and what, are we made of money, buying steaks every day? We don’t make Steve Blackman money in this household).
1. To make the steak, in a medium bowl, combine the flour, paprika, salt, pepper and seasoned salt. (Uh, I’d argue that the cow made the steak, WWE, but I get where you were going with this).
2. If necessary, hammer the meat with a meat tenderizer to thin and tenderize it. Dip the steaks first in the egg and then in the flour mixture, and coat them thoroughly.
NOTE: Although I didn’t need him to, Tom pounded the steaks with his fists. (NOTE FROM TOM: I did it while the steaks were still in the packaging, so please don’t think that this was in any way unhygienic.) Also, because I love health, I double dipped these suckers because I feel like a single coating isn’t enough for the coating to stay on.
3. In a 12 inch skillet, brown the meat in hot oil, turning once. Cover and cook over low heat for 40 minutes until tender.
NOTE: Despite best efforts with the breading, half of it fell off when I flipped the steaks. Oh well! However, the 40 minutes in the pan allowed it to develop a fairly tasty crust all the same!
4. For the gravy, remove the meat from the oil, and pour off all but 3 tablespoons of the drippings. Add ¾ cup of milk, the flour, salt and pepper and stir until well combined. Cook over medium low heat until bubbly and thickened. Pour in remaining ½ cup of milk. Cook ½ minutes more.
We chose to just have these with baked potatoes because we are the proud owners of the Potato Express – a joke gift for me on Valentine’s Day, but it’s actually kind of great, so get one! (NOTE FROM TOM: EXCUSE ME, but since Sydney received zero other gifts I don’t think it can technically be described as a joke – it was just all she got. In my defence, her birthday is the day after so I’d already exhausted all my good present ideas by the time I remembered stupid Valentine’s Day.)
I’ve had chicken-fried steak before, so I knew what I was getting into. My only thing would have been to throw a little more seasoning into the gravy, but overall, I was a fan. Come on, it’s a fried steak.
My star rating: 4 out of 5 stars.
Comments from Tom:
This was my first chicken-fried steak experience, and man, it’s pretty great! The gravy was especially excellent and pulled the whole thing together as a big disgusting, delicious mess. It’s also fun to imagine this dish as being responsible for Matt Hardy’s… difficulties.
Tom’s star rating: 4 out of 5 stars.
Until next time, friends! But in the meantime can we talk about WILLOW??